This fennel and beet salad is an elegantly displayed endive appetizer that is sure to impress your guests with inexpensive, yet seasonal, ingredients.
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of teaching about 30 women how to make some of my delicious recipes featured on the blog (here are the Ratatouille and Pasta recipes I taught them) but I felt like I needed a few appetizers for them to munch on while I taught them. I wanted seasonal appetizers that weren’t hard to make and that were filling. I wanted everything that I made for them to be easily replicated in their own kitchens. This fennel and beet salad dressed with a blood orange vinaigrette, housed as an endive appetizer was exactly what I was looking for! It is super simple to make but elegant enough to be a show stopper.
Using raw beets in this salad allows for me to actually enjoy eating beets; yeah I’m not a huge beet fan. Beets are sweet naturally but in their raw form, they have a nice earthy undertone to them. This pairs so nicely with the crisp and pungent flavor that accompanies fennel. Fennel is an interesting vegetable because it is pungent but in such a delicate way; it’s like a nice slap in the face when eating it. It is unmistakable but you enjoy it while eating.
I used a mandoline to cut my fennel and beets into the desired cuts I wanted. Mandolines come with an awesome julienne attachment that make it super easy to create thin strips. If you don’t have this tool available to you, you can simply slice the beets into thin circles (about ¼” thick), stack the circles on top of each other, and then cut strips from those.
Blood orange has a beautiful, deep color to it that gives it its name. I find that blood oranges aren’t as sweet as their navel cousins but they are still delicious to eat and that color is gorgeous to cook with. Sweeting the vinaigrette with honey (especially orange blossom) helps to highlight some of the sweetness that blood oranges do possess.
In the recipe, you’ll see that I say “segments” for the blood orange, it sounds complicated but it’s super easy to accomplish. Take your knife and carefully cut the rind off of the blood orange, revealing the flesh. Using a paring knife, cut the flesh out of the membrane in a sort of V shape. Take those and cut them into thirds. This makes it easier for the blood orange to fit into the endive without it being super overpowering.
When hosting a party or a dinner at your place, it’s important to think about the appetizers. They’re the teaser before the dinner. It’s a way to show off your prowess before the real meal goes underway. I highly recommend coming up with appetizers that can house themselves, with little utensils or plate ware. Placing this elegant salad in an endive leaf serves two purposes:
You look awesome because an endive leaf gives a high-class touch to an appetizer.
It helps cut down on the dishes you are left to do!
These ingredients can be found in your local grocery store. Blood oranges are only in season during spring so if you decide to make this appetizer for an occasion later in the year, this endive appetizer would still be delicious with navel oranges as a substitution.
Give this appetizer a try and let me how it was received by your guests! It impressed the ladies I cooked for and I know you’ll love it too! If you want to have a great accompanying appetizer, check out this Spicy Sausage Sun Dried Tomato and Goat Cheese recipe! It was super delicious as well!
I’m going to be doing quite a bit of appetizers within the next month so stay tuned because we all love to entertain during the summer; I’ll have you covered for your summer entertaining needs!
Happy eating everyone!
- 1 eacheach fennel bulb
- 1 each yellow beet medium sized
- 2 each blood orange zested and segmented, save the juice
- ½ cup olive oil
- To taste salt and pepper
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 tablespoon mint
- 2 endive endive
Cut fennel in half and cut thinly horizontally to get short, thin slices. Place in mixing bowl.
Peel beet with vegetable peeler and slice thinly to get strips of beet. Place in bowl with fennel. Add in orange zest.
Segment oranges, cutting each segment into thirds. Place in a container to catch juices.
Drain segments from juice and add to fennel and beets.
Add honey, salt and pepper to juices, whisking in olive oil.
Thinly slice mint leaves and mix with fennel salad, dress with blood orange vinaigrette. Mix together until well dressed.
Pull endive leaves apart from bulb and spoon in a small amount of fennel salad onto each leaf. Garnish with small mint leaves.
Serve at room temperature as an appetizer.